CONUA has asked the federal government to pay ASUU the withheld salaries.
Cloud News Online reports that the Congress of University Academics (CONUA) has pleaded with the federal government offset the withheld salaries of members of a sister union, the Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU over its last nine months’ strike.
It also asked the federal government to be interested in stability in the university system, and
CONUA’s members under the Labour law of the country have the right to be paid for the period of the strike because it did not declare any industrial action as ASUU did.
This follows the decision of the federal government to pay CONUA members arrears of salaries it (FG) withheld as a result of its no work, no pay policy introduced during ASUU’s industrial action.
CONUA’s President, Dr ‘Niyi Sunmonu speaking with newsmen after its maiden National Executive Council, NEC, Meeting held at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ile, during the weekend.
“Recently, we received a letter from the federal government asking the National Officers to submit a list of members of CONUA among other things that we are asked to supply with respect to payment of backlog of salaries and check-up dues.
“That to us is a welcome development and a process that we will see through to the end. CONUA has consistently maintained before now, that it didn’t declare any strike and by the provision of section 43 subsection 1B of the trade dispute act, what happened to members of CONUA can be taken to be what happens in the provision of that section.
“It is a lockout for us. At certain times, students in the universities were asked to vacate the university premises by the management. To our mind, what the government is implementing is a ‘no work no pay’ policy. We believe we wanted to work, we didn’t declare strike, and the students that we need to teach were asked to vacate the campus.
“So, it will be unjust for the government to apply its ‘no work no pay’ policy on us, and on that principle is what we are following through which we wrote letters to various ministries and it is consistent that we have never declared a strike and we are not striking.
“With regards to a possible new crisis, as far as we are concerned it won’t degenerate into issues because the other union declares strike and they can actually state their case before the government or the court.
“The only thing we can do at this stage is to appeal to the federal government to be magnanimous to pay everybody. But along the line of principle, CONUA did not declare a strike, and the ‘no work no pay’ policy will be unjust to be applied on it”.
Responding to the question that CONUA is a creation of FG to fight ASUU, Sunmonu described those spreading the allegation as jittery, affirming that the union is a product of ideology to ensure a stable academic calendar in the nation’s university system.
The last I know is that ASUU is not a government institution that is saddled with the responsibility of recognising or otherwise of another trade union. As far as we are concerned, one of our own ideologies is that there should be an uninterrupted calender.
“I say this time and time again, It is not to say we are oblivious to the problems in our ivory towers and we are not saying what the government is doing is the best for our institutions but without sinking the boat, we can get to constructive engagement with the government on how we can have an uninterrupted academic calendar and the welfare of the academics are also better addressed.